Have you ever sat in your office, in the middle of a sea of other people in a corporate environment, thinking “I really want to work for myself and not this company!”? Or, you have what you think is a unique idea, think it could be a great new product or service the world has never seen before and want to run with it and start your own small business? Many of us have been there with the same thoughts. The next step is often the difficult one when you ask yourself, “Do I go for it and start my own business? Will I succeed? Do I have what it takes? Can I really do this? Do I take the leap of faith in myself and business idea?”
Having left the corporate world behind and starting my own businesses, people often ask me what in my experience is the most difficult thing about starting a business. Starting your own venture does not have to be a total leap of faith. There are a number of things you can plan for, keep top-of-mind and draw upon as your start your new undertaking.
One: Jack of all Trades – Often starting your own business you need to wear numerous (all!) hats. You may not have the resources to hire the people you normally relied upon in a job setting when you were part of a team. As a new business owner, it’s important to multitask and perform sales, marketing, PR, logistics, duty, importing, exporting, project management, accounting, to name few.
Two : Independence – The lure of staring your own business is often the perceived freedom to “be my own boss”. The reality is you are often working independently and without others around to constantly motivate you and keep your motors revved. Before venturing out on your own, ask yourself, “Am I good working alone”…
Three: Self Motivation – If it’s a beautiful June afternoon and the sun is shining, birds are singing and the golf course is calling out to you…as a business owner you must be able to focus and accomplish those necessary without being swayed with the thought “I’ll do that later”. You may have the luxury and freedom of being self-employed but staying on task is important without the distractions life can throw your way.
Four: The Resources to Launch – Before starting a business, you will need “seed money”; the money necessary to get the business off the ground. Product based businesses need more funds than service based. How much do you need and where is this going to come from? Do you have access to partners that can share in the start up costs and then take a role in the business? Do you fund the business yourself with your own personal money? Do you borrow from outside funding such as a bank or lending company. To move to that route you often need personal collateral to secure a loan against a loan. Do you try crowd funding or sourcing to launch our idea? Eventually, do you use profits to put back into business and how much? All things to keep in mind as you plan your business model.
Five : Cash is King – Every business owner will quickly come to the realization that cash flow is crucial to a business. Cashflow is different from the money you invest into the start-up of a business. Cashflow is necessary to pay the bills and keep the ship afloat in the water. Having a financial plan to predict how and what cash will be brought into the business every month is important. Then have a contingency of a 5 to 10% “slush fund” for the “I didn’t know what I didn’t know “expenses that seem to pop out of nowhere.
The above are just some starting points to consider as you put time, thought and energy into determining the best route to take to reach a successful outcome for your business launch. These answers will help minimize the uncertainty of your “leap of faith”.
Claudia Harvey is the owner and CEO of C. Harvey and Associates and Co-Founder of Dig It Apparel. For more information or assistance please go to http://claudiaharvey.com